After Mark Klim and I abandoned a bushwhack to Acteon Ridge due to tedious breakable crust conditions, we headed into Waterville Valley and snowshoed one of my favorite trail routes. It turned out to be an excellent alternative on this bright, chilly and very windy "spring" day.
A request from the Waterville nordic folks.
The Kettles Path is always a pleasure to snowshoe, passing by the three glacially-formed depressions known as The Kettles.
One of the larger white pines in the Valley.
A Pileated Woodpecker has been busy.
Nice variety of woods on this meandering path, with both softwoods...
Starting the steep final climb up the backside of The Scaur.
Old-style WVAIA sign.
What a day! The Scaur is a little rocky knob (2230 ft.) with a big view.
The wind was roaring like a jet engine, but we were fairly protected here, facing the sun, and there was bare rock to lounge on!
Sandwich Dome and Jennings Peak.
Middle and South Tripyramid.
Mt. Tecumseh. The Waterville ski lifts were not running, we assumed because of the wind.
East Osceola and its Painted Cliff.
Top o' The Scaur.
Descending the steep, crusted slot behind the ledges.
Irene's Path was a new partial redline for Mark. It was opened in 2014 to replace the Irene-damaged Flume Brook Trail.
The Rock of Gibraltar along Irene's Path, just east of The Scaur.
Heading along the mellow Scaur Ridge - the westernmost extension of Mt. Tripyramid - on Irene's Path. No recent snowshoe tracks here, but the old trough was firm and smooth.
Strange, distorted critter tracks.
We followed Irene's Path on a steep, crusty sidehill descent to its unique viewpoint looking north into Mad River Notch.
Owl's Head in the Pemi is seen in the distance through the Notch.
A SW knob of Mt. Kancamagus with two lines of cliffs. The K1 Cliff is on the left.
Heading back up from the viewpoint. This short stretch was some of the sketchiest snowshoeing of the season.
This spot is a steep rock staircase in summer.
Back up on the crest of the ridge, we wandered eastward off-trail on deep firm snow, taking in the woodland sights, such as this Pileated Woodpecker excavation.
It must be love.
Bear nest used while feeding on beech nuts.
Beech bark disease.
Heading back to the trail.
Neat boulder along Irene's Path.
Top of the landmark white ash along the Kettles Path.
Descending in late afternoon. Typical of spring, the snow had turned mushy in the sun leading to an occasional snowshoe posthole if you strayed the slightest bit off the firm track.